Safety Tips for Runners & Walkers
With the arrival of spring, the number of runners and walkers taking advantage of the warmer weather has increased. Although we are beginning to lower our guard relative to the cold weather, that doesn’t mean we can do the same with our safety. Every year, criminals target runners and walkers, many of whom are enjoying their time outside and not being situationally aware. However, there are steps people can take to increase their personal safety and not simply fall victim to those with ill intentions.
People are creatures of habit, making them very predictable and easy targets. Many runners and walkers travel the same route each day, often at the same time. Criminals wishing to target people watch for patterns such as this. Don’t always take the same route. Switch it up by reversing the order of your route or by taking a different route altogether. In addition, vary the times as much as possible. That way the time and place you are going to be is not predictable. Also, stick to locations where people are around. Don’t travel in isolated areas.
Earbuds & Cellphones
When I run, I like to wear earbuds and listen to music. That way I can zone out and not think about how tired I am. Wearing earbuds can also hinder people’s ability to hear warning signs of danger, such as a person, vehicle or wild animal approaching. If you wear earbuds while you are out, consider putting them in only one ear. That way you can enjoy the music and still hear sounds, which could indicate possible danger. Also, keep the volume to an acceptable level.
Always carry a cell phone with you. That way you can call for help if you need emergency assistance. There are many bands and clips that allow you to have your phone with you but not necessarily require you to hold it in your hand. However, make sure you can quickly access the phone in an emergency situation. If you feel threatened, call the police immediately and give them your location. It’s better to have them come and it be nothing then wait until it’s too late. In addition, don’t walk with your head buried in your phone. Cell phones are probably the biggest hindrance to situational awareness in today’s society. Keep your head up and pay attention to what is going on around you.
The Buddy System
If possible, run or walk with someone. There is always safety in numbers. If you must go out alone, tell a family member or trusted friend when you are leaving, your intended route and what time you will be back. If you don’t check in afterward, the person will know where to look for you. There are also Apps, such as Map My Run, that you can install on your phone to allow others to track your location and route traveled. It is important to look at the privacy settings for the App you use and ensure that only people you approve can see your location.
If you run or walk in the street, do so against traffic so you can see it coming towards you. Wear bright clothing so that you can be easily seen. However, always assume drivers don’t see you and distance yourself from them as much as possible. Don’t stop to talk to anyone who pulls alongside you in a vehicle unless you know them. If you think they are suspicious, quickly turn around and run in the direction opposite of what the vehicle is facing. This makes it harder for the vehicle to follow you and makes it more obvious to others that something may be wrong if the vehicle turns around to follow you.
Carry some type of self-defense item with you. Some examples are a personal alarm that emits an audible siren when triggered or pepper spray. Whatever you choose to carry, you want it readily available so that if you are in danger, there is no delay in using it. Check your state’s laws relative to items like pepper spray and stun guns. Some states require a conceal/carry permit to carry them.
Women’s Self Defense
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Topic: Women’s Security Strategies
Location: Munster, IN
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